What's been lost - and not - in the Coronavirus Hostage Crisis
Back in the late 1970s and beginning of the '80s when I was in the high school — yes, I really am that old — the United States went through a long ordeal known as the Iran hostage crisis.
For those of you not old enough to remember, the crisis, in brief, went like this. First, the Iranian revolution deposed the Shah of Iran (the country's former U.S.-backed leader) and brought into power the country's current fundamentalist Islamic regime.
Next, in the months that followed, Iranian college students sympathetic to the revolution captured the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, and in the process, took 52 American diplomats and citizens hostage.
Those hostages were held for 444 days — from November 4, 1979, to January 20, 1981 — eventually being released just minutes after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president.
This being the sports section of the West Linn Tidings, the fair question that follows is this — why are we reading about a 40-year-old historical incident that didn't involve sports?
Here's why — throughout the Iran hostage crisis, the media regularly referred to the date of various news events as "Hostage Crisis, Day 172," and later, "Hostage Crisis, Day 312" etc.
Now it's us. Based on statewide restrictions due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, many people around Oregon feel as if they are hostages to this new pandemic.
Don't get me wrong. I don't compare our current situation to the situation of the hostages held and tortured by Iran all those years ago. While many of us fear for our health and financial welfare, none of are suffering in that degree.
For me, I date the start of the sports-related "Coronavirus Hostage Crisis" to Thursday, March 12 — that's the day that the Oregon School Activities canceled the 2020 state basketball tournaments. So for those us missing sports, both the end of the winter season and beginning of the spring season, today — Thursday, March 26 — counts as "Coronavirus Hostage Crisis, Day 15."
If you're a young go-getter like me, missing out on the start of spring sports is as painful as getting spiked at second base (or perhaps catching a javelin — it's sports metaphor time after all). While we know that sports are on hold until at least April 28 — that's 33 days from now — it already feels like forever.
But here in the Coronavirus Hostage Crisis phase of our lives, we need to keep perspective on what's real and what's not. We need to avoid exaggerations and overstatements about what's been lost because that kind of hyperbole will only make us feel worse.
So here's what's real. Thus far — on "Coronavirus Hostage Crisis, Day 15" — the delay to the 2020 spring high school sports season has cost our local teams approximately this much (each item is an approximated total per team):
• Four baseball games; five softball games; three boys tennis matches (including the start of the Three Rivers League season); three girls tennis matches (including the start of the Three Rivers League season).
• One boys track meet; one girls track meet; one boys golf match (including the start of the Three Rivers League season); one girls golf match (including the start of the Three Rivers League season); three boys lacrosse games (including the start of the Three Rivers League season); and three girls lacrosse games (including the start of the Three Rivers League season).
Don't get me wrong, I know it's a lot. And I know there have already been countless practices lost and countless chances for athletes to receive instruction from coaches lost as well.
I know that there are more of these losses to come, too, with the spring season on hold until at least April 28 and potentially longer. But I also know that these losses are temporary. These are losses that we'll come back from — especially our resilient high school athletes — and these are losses that prevent the greatest losses, the loss of life.
So don't freak out. Get out in the world and walk, run or bicycle. Work out when and where you can while following the government's guidelines to keep yourselves, your families and your friends safe.
And sometime in April, May or June, when it's game time again, we'll all be ready to come together and celebrate our love of sports.
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